Hematology of a natural population of toque macaques (Macaca sinica) at polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

Authors

  • Dilrukshi K. Ekanayake,

    1. Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
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  • Neil U. Horadagoda,

    1. Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
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  • G.K. Madura Sanjeevani,

    1. Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
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  • Appudurai Arulkanthan,

    1. Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
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  • K.A. Sunil Gunatilake,

    1. Smithsonian Institution Primate Project, Kandy, Sri Lanka
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  • Wolfgang P.J. Dittus

    Corresponding author
    1. Smithsonian Institution Primate Project, Kandy, Sri Lanka
    2. Institute of Fundamental Studies, Kandy, Sri Lanka
    3. Department of Conservation Biology, National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
    • Smithsonian Institution Primate Project, 140/12 Mapanawathura Road, Kandy, CP, Sri Lanka
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Abstract

Hematological studies were conducted in three wild groups of toque macaques (Macaca sinica) inhabiting the Polonnaruwa Sanctuary in northeastern Sri Lanka. The macaques were temporarily trapped and anesthetized, and femoral blood was drawn from 35 males and 37 females (age range: 0.33–24.5 yr). Statistically significant (P<0.05) differences were observed by sex for total plasma proteins (PP), and by age for red blood cell (RBC) counts, hemoglobin (Hb), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular Hb (MCH), mean corpuscular Hb concentration (MCHC), PP, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), differential and absolute neutrophil counts, differential lymphocyte counts, and absolute eosinophil counts. In general, the results were similar to those reported for other species of colony-bred and free-ranging macaques. However, there also were differences. First, in contrast to earlier studies of nonhuman primates, we examined the hematology of infants. Compared to other age classes, infants (<1 yr old) had lower RBC, Hb, MCHC, and ESR values, and a higher MCV. These findings were similar to those obtained in human infants. Second, we observed variations in hematology among social groups in relation to their ecology. Two groups (IH3 and M3) had ready access to water throughout the dry season (the period of sampling), whereas the third group (J) did not. The Hb, RBC, and PP values obtained in groups IH3 and M3 were similar to those reported in other macaque species. However, these parameters in group J were significantly (P<0.01) higher, which suggests that this group (representing about 26% of the sample) had been dehydrated during the dry season. Finally, two indices indicative of injury and infection–the ESR and leukocyte counts–were higher in the wild toque macaques than has been reported for other species of macaques held in captivity, and about 15% of the toque macaques sampled had extreme outlier values for these parameters; however, none were visibly ill or died. These results suggest that wild toque macaques are subject to a wide array of physical and biological insults that are unique to natural populations. Am. J. Primatol. 61:13–28, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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